Wednesday, November 23, 2011

User Experience Testing Is Not The Same As Product Design Validation

I sometimes watch my colleagues in horror when they take a few screens, show it to a few end users, verify usability of a handful of screens representing few use cases and come back and tell me that the product is fine. I explain to them that user experience testing is not the same as product design validation. Product managers and product owners need to built something rough, show it to potential users and buyers and find out if the idea makes sense to them. This is the job of a product manager. It is not to be delegated to a user experience designer alone. The ideal situation is when the product manager or product owner tests this out on her own before turning this into a larger project. If the product manager needs help, then she needs to work with a user experience designer who can help her build things. Delegating product design to some one else is a sure recipe for failure.

There are two behaviors that stop such a good practice from being followed.
1. Product managers thinking that design is a creative activity for which they are not suited. Really? If you are not creative, why are you managing a product?
2. User experience designers considering design as a unique trait that only they can do and having this myopic view that experience design is product design.

Product managers who don't make things to test the waters are doomed to fail sooner or later. User experience designers who  do not recognize this and embrace it are are going to fail because they will end up designing products that may not sell well.
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